A Visit with Pam and Nicky Lintott, owners of The Quilt Room in the UK and a Fabulous Give-a-Way

I am a huge fan of Pam and Nicky Lintott’s. Their creative work and patterns, published in their beautiful books are what inspired me to purchase a few for myself. They’ve published at least 15 quilting books, and have sold over 350,000. Before I looked at their books, I never worked with jelly rolls, charm packs, dessert rolls, or any pre-cuts, for that matter, except fat quarters. 

Not all of them are based on pre-cuts. Their newest one is, Quick Quilts with Rulers; 18 Easy Quilt Patterns, (see photo below), and was released in March, 2014.

This very successful mother-daughter team own an amazing shop; The Quilt Room, in Dorking, Surrey. I’ve promised myself I will visit there by next summer.

They have been in business for over 33 years. Pam began the shop when Nicky was only three,and they just keep going. The story and history of the shop is on their website. It is charming; http://www.quiltroom.co.uk/

I wanted to dig further, and get to know them better. Why? Because they are actually my heros. They pushed me out of my comfort zone when I discovered their books.

I want to introduce Pam and Nicky Lintott, who generously offered to do this interview.

Anne:  How did each of you become interested in quilting?

When Nick (my husband) and I were sailing around the Mediterranean before having children, there were many days when there was nothing more important to do than lounge around in the sunshine. I used to spend time sewing English paper pieced hexagons on deck which people thought very strange! When children arrived and we moved back to the UK I started machine piecing log cabin quilts – certainly a lot faster than hand sewn hexagons. Log Cabin variations are still a favourite of mine and our pattern Log Cabin Hidden Stars, which appeared in our first book, Jelly Roll Quilts is one of our best-selling patterns. 

Nicky:  As mum has been running the business for over thirty-three years, quilting and patchwork has always been part of my life.  I remember sewing scraps of fabric together when I was very small and ‘helping’ in the shop.  I didn’t actually make my first quilt until in my early twenties but have made lots since.

Anne:  Why did Pam decide to open a quilt shop?

When we returned to England and children arrived Nick opened a bookshop in a gorgeous old building in Dorking which dates from 1450. There was the most beautiful room upstairs with lots of exposed beams which really lent itself to hanging quilts. The Quilt Room opened in 1981 and little did I realise The Quilt Room would still be running 33 years later and I would be working alongside my daughter.

Anne:  Why did Nicky decide to join the business?

It just sort of happened.  I was a pediatric staff nurse for quite a few years and then worked abroad for a little while.  When I returned, I had the choice of continuing with my nursing or starting something new working with mum. I chose the quilting industry and never looked back!

Anne:  What’s it like to run a mother daughter quilt shop?

  Working with your daughter is any mother’s dream. I consider myself extremely lucky. Nicky came into the business with lots of enthusiasm and different ideas and The Quilt Room can only benefit from that. 

Nicky: It’s nice as although we both have quite different ideas and tastes in fabrics and styles. It makes for an eclectic collection in our shop and quite often having different ideas and tastes makes you step out of your comfort zone which is always a good thing.

Anne:  What do you both like best and least about it?

  There is not a lot I don’t like – except of course paperwork but everyone hates that! When new fabrics arrive it still feels like Christmas to me – I never tire of new fabric. Ideas for new quilt designs are always in my head and when new fabric arrives it is great to try out new ideas. 

Nicky:  The thing I like the best and least are the same thing; you don’t switch off.  You are constantly thinking about what to do next which is great but sometimes makes it hard to get a break!

Anne:  Do you prefer to use pre-cuts or regular fabric, and why?

  I enjoy the mathematical constraints when you are working with jelly rolls or other pre-cuts. It sounds silly but it seems too easy to work on a quilt pattern when you could have endless fabric. I like knowing I have to make a gorgeous quilt with only 40 strips of fabric or 40 squares. At the moment I have it in my head to make quilts using eight fat eighths. Don’t ask me why but I’m enjoying myself and have some great little quilt patterns piling up.

  Both really. We have written many books on jelly rolls so they obviously feature a lot in what we use.  However, our latest book contains quilt patterns not made from pre-cuts but just regular fabric. 

Anne:  Describe the one quilt you are both most proud of making?

Pam:  That’s difficult as I have a few favourites. I think I will say Starlight Express from our first book, as Lone Star was always a design, I had avoided and to make it from one jelly roll was quite an accomplishment. Also we worked out how to piece it without any Y seams, so yes it was a good pattern.

Nicky: Probably the quilt I am most proud of making is Stepping Stones. This was made from a black and white jelly roll, and I mixed a few fat quarters of deep purple in it. This was the first quilt we made using our black and white jelly roll and I don’t think anyone was expecting it to end up looking as striking or as good as it did.  I made it over six years ago and we still have it in the shop. It still helps sell lots of those black and white jelly rolls.

Anne:  Everyone seems to have a least favorite, and favorite part of the quilting process. Tell us about yours.

Pam: That is easy – choosing the fabrics, especially if it is a jelly roll quilt. When you choose a jelly roll to use, you are never quite sure how the quilt is going to look. People often say they discard a strip of fabric they don’t like but I don’t allow myself to do that. Even if there is a strip I’m not sure about, I make sure I use it – and it is quite incredible that when the quilt is finished, it is often that strip which looks just perfect.

Nicky:  My favourite part is seeing the quilt really come together.  It’s one thing choosing the fabrics, but to actually see it all sewn together, and how it actually looks is my favourite part.  That and the longarm quilting of the quilt.

Anne:  What made you decide to publish quilting and sewing books?

Pam:  It was love at first sight with jelly rolls and we made lots of quilts and started a Strip Club at the shop. When we were approached by David & Charles for ideas for a book we already had half the quilts in the book made.

Anne:  What quilt books can we expect to see in the future?

Pam: Our new book Quick Quilts with Rulers is slightly different from our jelly roll quilt books. In our jelly roll quilts we try not to use too many specialist rulers, but in this book we have shown just what can be accomplished with specialist rulers.

Nicky:  Certainly at the moment we are heading towards more contemporary and modern looking quilts, both in the making of the quilts and fabrics, but also in our longarm quilting of the quilts.

Anne:  Do each of you have a favorite type of quilt you like to make and why? For example modern, traditional, Amish, etc.

Pam:  I suppose I am always going to love traditional quilts, but I am leaning towards the more modern designs – probably Nicky’s influence.

Nicky: Maybe it’s lack of time with a small child but I like quick and easy quilts using clever techniques. 

Anne:  When will you be coming back to the U.S. for a market or a festival?

Nicky: We usually go to Quilt Market once a year and, over the last couple of years we have come not only to buy fabrics, but as wholesalers too, as we now wholesale patterns. We hope to come to Houston either this fall or the next.

Anne: What do you see in the near future in the quilting world?

Nicky: Fabric collections certainly in recent years have a brighter look and we are certainly seeing more orange/tangerine colours in collections.  I think in general, quilters are also becoming much more knowledgeable using rulers and other quilting gadgets, perhaps with the huge resource of information that can be found online.  I also think the modern movement of quilts is very exciting. Quilting is like fashion; fabrics and trends go in cycles so there is always something innovative on the horizon. There is never a dull moment!

I really enjoyed doing this interview with you both, and can’t thank you enough. I can’t wait to see the new book and try out some of the patterns.

One very lucky winner will win a copy of Pam and Nicky’s new book, Quick Quilts with Rulers; 18 Easy Quilt Patterns.

All you need to do is leave a comment in my box, telling us what is your favorite pre-cut to work with, and why. If you prefer to work with rulers, tell us which one is your favorite and why. 

Please leave your e-mail address in the comment box, so I can contact you. I will be leaving the name of the winner on this blog, on Friday morning.  This give-a-way will end at 12:01 AM on Friday, April, 25th.

Thank you again to Pam and Nicky Lintott, and good luck to those entering the give-a-way.

Moda 1930’s Playtime by Chloe’s Closet Charm Pack

I love the day when new fabric arrives by mail.  I always can’t wait to open the package.  And today, I was anything but disappointed. I received several charm packs of  30’s Playtime by Chloe’sCloset by Moda from The Fat Quarter Shop.

These beautiful and fun fabrics are going to a project for me and my husband.  I am making a king, yes a king-sized quilt. The pattern is called Blossom Time, and is from the book, Layer Cake, Jelly Roll and Charm Quilts, by Pam & Nicky Lintott.  Their shop, The Quilt Room is in London, and I wouldn’t mind a trip there, and to visit their shop. I have always been a big fan of their books; (I own three of them).
I absolutely love this pattern, and can’t wait to dig into these fabrics.